Eating up the miles — Day 2 on the road to The Big Easy

Eating up the miles — Day 2 on the road to The Big Easy

We’re back on the road again today eating up the miles on the way south to The Big Easy. We’ve got just under 530 miles to go today to reach our camp in Lefleur’s Bluff State Park outside Jackson, Mississippi.

This whirlwind journey will take us another 7.5 hours closer to New Orleans and ever deeper into the south. Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi here we come.

Today would be the longest leg of our journey. We’ll be traveling nearly 100 more miles farther than yesterday. 517 miles is a long way to go in one day. So far the weather has been cooperative if a little wet.

The rain has also revealed one feature of Niecie’s new adventuremobile she isn’t a fan of, rain sensing wipers. When a sensor detects rain on the windshield it automatically controls turns on and off the wipers. I think she find’s their sudden change of pace a little off-putting. Other than that our journey is progressing smoothly.

Today’s route

Don’t forget the hike

picture of Klondike Park quarry lake

Once an active silica quarry Klondike Park no features more than two dozen campsites and miles of bicycle and hiking trails.

We left our campsite at Klondike Park a little before 11 a.m., but not before I’d managed to work in short hike.

Niecie had picked this location because of its unique geography, primitive campsites and the plethora of short hiking trails that loop around the campsites.

I’ve never been a fan of camp grounds like KOAs, always preferring the seclusion of smaller state parks and forests.

Because of this, Niecie was adamant that I get a hike in after she’d gone to all the trouble of finding this place.

So, while she was breaking camp, I wondered off to explore the park and find a hiking trail I could comfortably complete in an hour.

The sheer walls of the former silica quarry shade Missouri’s grasslands in Klondike Park.

Klondike Park’s experimental Herpetology pond looks a little green. Maybe that’s the point. After all, fronts are green right?

Klondike Park used to be a sand quarry before it was converted to a park by St. Charles County in 1999. The park features more than two dozen campsites and several miles of paved and natural trails.

After spending a few minutes longer than I’d like to admit getting my bearings, I set off in search of the Hogsback trailhead.

The short 1.16-mile trail climbed the rock studded quarry bluffs overlooking the Missouri River valley.

A beautiful outcropping of rock punctuated the peak of Hogsback Trail in Klondike Park.

The trail reminded me of hiking in Great River Bluffs State Park back in Minnesota.

It’s hard not to draw comparisons to the driftless region, but there were a few distinct differences. The soil is much sandier and instead of the dense hardwood forests, pine trees filled the hillsides.

All-in-all I estimate my hike took me just under three miles through Missouri’s stunning bluff lands. It’ll be an experience I won’t soon forget.

Missed opportunities

St. Louis’ Gateway Arch was just one of many sites we’d hoped to check out on our way down to The Big Easy. Photo credit Joshua Ness

We’d hoped to spend part of our day visiting the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and touring the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, Unfortunately, our late start meant we wouldn’t get to these until our return journey later this week.

I guess the good news is we now had something to look forward to on our way home Thursday.

If you guys have any suggestions we’d love to hear about them in the comments.

More to come

Check back tomorrow for day three of adventure on the road to The Big Easy.

Further Reading

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